Monday, April 2, 2012

Love is Power

Women of Faith:
When I was growing up I remember dreading this week of the year—it meant more church, more sacrifice, less food and somber meditation.

I don’t quite remember when my attitude towards Holy Week changed. Maybe it took some of my own suffering or maybe I had to experience the power of unconditional love from someone outside of my own family.

But sometime in my late teens and early adult years my attitude changed. I began to look forward to this week of “dying to self,” of appreciating the gift we have been given to experience Christ’s walk in and thru the passion celebration, of experiencing the Power of Love.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, for whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel* will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. Mk 8:34-37

On Thursday I will participate in the Last Supper—I will be present as we celebrate the very first Eucharistic Mass—when Christ gave us himself as the eternal food so that we would be sustained by Him, in Him and thru Him; fed by His flesh and blood each time we participate at his table in the (universal) Mass which he established to replace the Passover meal and celebration.

Am I willing to lose my life for Him? Will I stoop to the depths of Christ and wash the feet of those who serve me?

“He said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." Jn 13: 14-15

On Friday, Jesus’ death on the cross is the culmination of an attitude of one who does not cry out and who does not flinch against evil. He bears patiently the beatings and the violence of the same world we live in today.

Evil is what happens when people are consumed by fear and hatred. Evil is never content until it has destroyed the pleading and accusing eyes of an innocent victim.

Will I be “Simon” who helped Jesus carry his cross for 650 yards or will I be the bystander yelling insults and mocking Jesus? Who am I crucifying this week by my lack of forgiveness, by my words or by my silent treatment to them?

Or am I strong like Jesus? Do I turn the other cheek and endure the insults and false accusations of others with love and forgiveness?

"The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame." Is 50:4-7

Will I experience a mother’s desire to take away all the pains and sufferings of those I love? Mary’s sorrows as Jesus suffered pain, torture and ultimate death on the cross shows us how to bear our burdens and sufferings.

And here I watch the ultimate power in ultimate love. Because love is not a feeling—love is the action of serving, of giving up everything to serve another without any desire to be repaid, or to receive reward.

Will I become a participant? Or will I only remain as a bystander?

This is what Holy Week is all about: A call to action. A call to conquer evil with love, a call to bear patiently when we are wronged, a call to forgive 70 x 7, a call to serve kindly, a call to courage and perseverance when things don’t go our way and a call to have hope in the power of love.

It is about a Son’s love for his Father; a Mother’s love for her child; and the bridegroom’s love for his bride.

It is not about feeling loved, but how we act out our love.

It is not about saying I’m sorry, but how we forgive those that have wronged us.

It is not about saying we are saved; it is about accepting the responsibility that comes with that relationship with Christ, by how we act (Mt 25: 31-40) because we have accepted the love so freely given to us by Jesus’ death on the cross.

Lord Jesus, the evil which we have allowed into your world must bring you deep sorrow. Help me to follow Your path to power by acting in love. May the sorrows of Your passion and death serve to remind me of the hope and joys that followed in your resurrection. Help each of us to serve with courage and to spread your joy to others. Amen.

May my sadness as I walk with Christ this week become my motivation and the pain of desire to do what I can to serve others in and through love.

And may your hope and desire for heaven be strengthened by the Power of His Love this week,

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